2019 Outlook: U.S. foreign policy to stay the course
Unconventional as his leadership style may be, President Donald Trump, succeeded in 2018 in getting both U.S. allies and competitors to pay serious attention to his foreign policy agenda. His administration is undaunted in pursuing U.S. policy goals despite replacements of key officials in the president’s national security apparatus. Mr. Trump will remain focused on crushing transnational terrorist threats to the U.S. and its allies, and dealing with great power competition in Europe, the Middle East and Asia in 2019 before he turns his attention to his bid for reelection.
Europe stands to be the biggest loser of the INF Treaty’s ending
The U.S. has announced officially that it walks away from the 1987 treaty banning intermediate- and shorter-range nuclear weapons, removing a cornerstone of the existing arms control system. The chances of it being replaced with a better, multilateral agreement involving China and a handful of other nuclear powers appear to be slim at this point.
U.S.-Iran confrontation puts the EU in a quandary
The European Union has hoped to make Iran an important part of its energy security scheme and still backs the nuclear deal with Tehran from which the United States has withdrawn. As the world’s fifth largest and OPEC’s third-largest oil producer gropes for ways to circumvent American sanctions against its oil exports, however, the EU can only do so much to help Iran. Geopolitical and economic facts of life are making it hard for the Europeans to ignore the unilateral U.S. abrogation of the treaty.
Rough waters ahead for Chile’s new government
Chile faces economic uncertainty as global trade alliances are thrown into disarray. The new government in Santiago, led by free-market conservative Sebastian Pinera, has a weak position in the legislature. On top of the daunting challenge of diversifying Chile’s copper-based economy, President Pinera must deal with social unrest at home. This situation calls for first-rate leadership that ventures beyond routine governance.
Xi’s growing influence goes beyond constitutional changes
China’s National People’s Congress recently abolished term and age limits for the highest offices, including that of president. While the changes may not mean much for the workings of the Chinese party-state or the country’s development, they are part of a broader effort by President Xi Jinping to expand his influence and that of the Communist Party.